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Preserving the Red Rocks

So Congress might actually think about the Red Rock Wilderness Bill - to preserve the red rock lands of Southern Utah from desecration by developers. But there are objections to government asserting control over its lands. Are there lessons to be gleaned from our history as a people?

The National Forests are lands owned by the federal government (us) and managed by the Forest Service, part of the (federal) U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their management focuses on timber, livestock grazing, water, wildlife, and recreation.

The national forest system was created by the Land Revision Act of 1891. There are 155 national forests containing almost 190 million acres - about the size of Texas.

So what’s the big objection to setting aside the Red Rocks of Southern Utah? A century ago, the commitment to future generations was enshrined in laws to preserve. Do we not see a benefit? Or can benefits be measured only in development dollars?

But speaking of dollars, tourists bring enormous wealth to Utah, not only to enjoy the “greatest snow on earth” that falls in National Forests where the ski resorts of Northern Utah are, but also for the awe of the expanse and solitude of the Red Rock Wildernesses of Southern Utah.

Preserve the Red Rocks now so your grandchildren can see and know what inspired you, as the National Forests were set aside for us.

W. Paul Wharton